Page 2, 21st April 1950

21st April 1950
Page 2
Page 2, 21st April 1950 — GLASGOW AND F.A.C.T.U.
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GLASGOW AND F.A.C.T.U.

SIR.-1 don't know whether your reporter was present at the Derby meeting of ACTU or if he has relied on a Press hand-out. but the facts relating to Glasgow are completely inaccurate.

The constitution of the Federation was not endorsed by all. It was opposed by the Scottish delegates from the Glasgow and Galloway Dioceses.

Also you state : " In the case of the dioceses of Glasgow and Shrewsbury, which have Workers' Guilds organising both trade unionists and others. ACTU sections will be formed within them and it will be these which will federate to the new national body."

Glasgow made no such decision at Derby nor has it heard nor discussed locally such a proposal. Let us make the Glasgow position quite clear. We began in 1941, before any ACTU existed, with a constitution approved within the Archdiocese of Glasgow. We did not concern ourselves with a limita tion to T.U.C. membership. We did not consider the question of " breakaway " or " scab ' unions as our business. Our concern was with the Catholic worker, whatever his union or trade association. Equally we were interested in persuading Catholics in non-union

premises to organise. Join their appropriate union and become active as Catholics within it.

For the last nine years we have tried to provide the means by which the worker could equip himself through lectures. discussions. classes and literature, for the vital task of Christianising the unions.

In 1946, when ACTU's began to spring up. following upon the encouragement of Cardinal Griffin, we affiliated to the Liaison Committee of ACTU.

At the last ACTU meeting in Glasgow. where the limitation of membership first -came forward, pressed by those who do not wish to offend the T.U.C., we opposed it as did Galloway Catholic Workers' Guild and the Shrewsbury delegates.

We opposed it on two grounds.

Firstly, the task of associations of Catholic trade unionists is with all Catholics, whatever their union. It is indeed, only with a Catholic society that members of opposed unions may expect to see Christian charity exercised.

Secondly, no one may dictate from outside what should be a diocesan constitution. Local constitutions are a matter for acceptance and permission from the ecclesiastical

authority. The local and national constitutions for Scotland, therefore, will be those acceptable to the

Scottish Hierarchy. In this matter we still control our own affairs !

We feel that the matter of authority in a Catholic Association has received too little prominence in England. There is too little attention paid to the function of a Catholic society among many ACTU groups we have met with some honourable exceptions.

More Catholicism is needed in ACTU, more attention to the ignorance of the Church's social teachings among our own people, less party political thinking and more insistence on an Apostolate in the trade unions.

We venture to suggest that when ACTU (or FACTU) opposes the T.U.C. for the first time over a matter of Catholic principle, its education will have begun. We shall watch with considerable interest how those who now want a T.U.C. screen behave in that contingency.

A. G. HEPBURN.

72 Esseimont Avenue, Glasgow, W.4.




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